Great management and clear guidance are not the only tools that a company can use to improve productivity and efficiency among employees. Establishing healthy competition among members is another effective way to achieve company goals. However, competition has its pros and cons, something that managers should take into consideration before implementing initiatives for competition. You need to understand the difference between positive and negative competition then find ways to encourage the former in the workplace.
Knowing the Difference
Positive competition creates a win-win situation for everyone in the team to encourage them to work towards a common goal. The reward at stake is for everyone and not just for select individuals. Each can work towards improving his interests but should do so while cooperating with others in working towards team goals. In this positive environment, team members have mutual respect for each other and will not engage in actions that will put others in a bad light.
On the other hand, negative competition produces hostility among members. In this form of competition, the success of an individual will depend on the failure of another member. Since it damages the chances of success of the other person, teamwork and respect are thrown out of the window and replaced with fear, anger, and work stress. Also, keep in mind that negativity is catching; even people who are not so inclined to hostility may become influenced by it when surrounded by people who engage in it.
Advantages of Establishing Healthy Competition
When a company instills positive competition among its people, it improves the chances of increased productivity. Employees will engage in mutual efforts and cooperative teamwork in order to attain shared goals because they know that the rewards will benefit all of them. The positive competition encourages less stress in the workplace and inspires creativity, innovation, and motivation. It makes them think out of the box for ways to beat the competition and gain the rewards that are at stake.
Because team members work together in reducing stress levels and for a common cause, each individual develops respect, consideration, and empathy towards other members of the team. You can help solidify the teamwork between groups by introducing games that require individuals to communicate and collaborate with each other. You can organize workshops and make use of games that test their concentration and allow them to display their hidden talents. Remember that teamwork is promoted well when people are having fun doing it.
Organizing competition for groups is the better option since most people prefer to engage in team sports over the individual competition. Being in a group allows individuals to encourage each other for productivity and motivation.
Why Individual Rivalries Should Be Avoided
Establishing an “every man for himself” mindset is a sure way to promote jealousy and hostility in the office. If the rewards are given for individual performance instead of group merits, people may lean towards their fear of failure rather than their desire to win. Individuals may develop apathy and just give up when they see themselves falling behind the others.
How to Implement Positive Competition
Now that you know the benefits of establishing healthy competition, it’s time to get down to business and learn how to do it. These are the steps in ensuring that negative competition will not happen within the organization.
- Identify and appreciate the achievements of each individual. Aside from making the person feel valued in the workplace, this also shows the other members of the team the benefits of working hard and will inspire them to aspire for the same achievements, which in turn will be nothing but beneficial for the success of the entire team.
- Prioritize rewards for team achievements. There’s nothing wrong with rewarding individual achievements but team rewards should always be better than the former. This is another way to inspire people towards teamwork. Don’t put the spotlight on just the star performers. For instance, you can take the entire team out to lunch instead of just taking one or two individuals who perform way ahead of the others. Rewarding the entire group can put healthy pressure on the lower performers to step up so they can contribute as significantly as the others.
- Emphasize the results of working as a team. Always lean towards the big picture and results, not just the success and achievements per individual.
- Encourage buddy system. Teamwork will be promoted well if each person can learn from their peers in a mentorship set-up.
- Teach people to surpass their own records rather than the records of other people. This teaches them not to focus on comparing themselves to other people and focus on improving their own achievements instead.
- Make the rules clear. Get rid of gray areas and communicate the policies effectively to people concerned. In a competitive environment, each person must understand what is acceptable and what unethical behavior is.
- Assign people who can address disputes in case it happens. Ideally, these people should be senior managers who are known to be of fair and sound judgment and have the ability to intervene between opposing teams in times of dispute.
- Measure the achievements of team members based on not just one simple goal or criteria but also on all the desired targets. This can be achieved by utilizing a “balanced scorecard” approach.
Managers who are initiating competition between two groups in the workplace should take care to cooperate with both teams in order to ensure the success of this endeavor. Team members should be encouraged to view competition as a way to enhance professional growth by taking cues from strong competitors and learning from them instead of resenting them for their success.